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Title:Information mismatch: what international students thought their community college experience would be like
Author(s):Shenoy, Gloria
Director of Research:Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.; Pak, Yoon K.; Baber, Lorenzo D.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):International Students
Word of Mouth
Community College
Chain Migration
Abstract:International students’ main information source about the community college is word of mouth from family and friends, agents, and online sources (Bodycott, 2009; Bohman, 2010; Doku, 2007; Hamrick, 2007; Jones, 2006; Lee, 2008; Ottinger, 2009; Zeszortarski, 2003). Little is known about what prospective students are learning during these interactions. Through interviews with 15 students and an ethnographic content analysis of student-mentioned websites and documents, I examined what international students thought their community college experiences would be like and what led them to these expectations. Using the theory of chain migration from college choice and the theory of imperfect information from behavioral economics, I explored how students found out information about two community colleges in Texas. Insights offered by the international students who I interviewed revealed a mismatch of expectations and experiences involving the community colleges they attended, including misinformation about classes (e.g. what is a credit hour, option of choosing classes, classroom norms), school procedures (e.g. having to take placement tests, implications of remedial and developmental classes, how to transfer), and relationship dynamics (e.g. possibly being burdensome on host family, difficulty in making friends). Moreover, I found students chose Dallas area community colleges because they had a family member living in the community and these individuals, who I called “anchors,” helped the prospective students apply to and attend the schools. Sometimes students came with little information, such as only images from movies and television shows. This research contributes to the practice of recruiting international students and to researchers’ understandings the ways prospective international students obtain information about the community college. Ultimately, the results contribute to the policies and actions community college personnel can take to help international students to more appropriately match their expectations of the community college to the experiences they aspire to have as a student attending a community college in the United States. By exploring ways to make relevant information known to international students, community colleges can help students form more accurate expectations which may more closely match their experiences.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Gloria F Shenoy
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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